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Bastion runway blaze driver dies

An Afghan man who crashed a stolen vehicle on to the runway at Camp Bastion as US defence secretary Leon Panetta arrived there has died of his injuries.

The man died of severe burns, said Lieutenant General Curtis Scaparotti, deputy commander of American forces in Afghanistan.

He said the driver apparently had a container of fuel in the vehicle, which ignited during the crash at the airfield at Britain's biggest base in Afghanistan.

The base is home to a large contingent of US troops as well as UK forces.

Lt Gen Scaparotti said the driver had been heading towards a group of marines. He travelled at high speed and crashed into a ditch near the ramp where Mr Panetta's plane was going to park.

No one in the defence secretary's party was hurt.

The drama came amid growing tension between coalition forces and Afghan locals after the massacre of 16 people, including several children, allegedly by a US soldier in Kandahar at the weekend.

The soldier was moved out of the country to Kuwait yesterday, because the US says it does not have appropriate detention facilities in Afghanistan.

The crash at Camp Bastion is believed to be linked to an earlier incident, which left a British serviceman with minor injuries.

The driver, a local man employed at the base, was treated at the base's hospital for his injuries but died this morning.


From Belfast Telegraph